Multivitamin/Multimineral Supplement Can Lower Risk of Colds and Influenza Among People with Diabetes

BACKGROUND: People with diabetes are more likely to develop infections compared with nondiabetics. This increased risk of infection may be related to nutritional deficiencies, which can lead to decreased immune function.

RESEARCH: The study included 130 men and women (45-64 years of age) who took either a multivitamin/mineral supplement or a placebo daily for 12 months. One-third of the subjects had type 2 diabetes, and two-thirds were overweight or obese.

RESULTS: After 12 months, 17 percent of the diabetic subjects reported infections (colds, influenza, or gastrointestinal infections), compared with 93 percent of those taking placebos. Furthermore, none of the diabetic subjects taking supplements missed a day of work, whereas 89 percent of the diabetic subjects taking placebos lost at least one day of work. Supplement use did not influence the risk of infections in non-diabetic subjects.

IMPLICATIONS: This study found that daily consumption of a multivitamin/mineral supplement significantly reduced the risk of colds, influenza, and gastrointestinal infections among people with diabetes. The researchers wrote, "A larger clinical trial is needed to determine whether these findings can be replicated not only in diabetic persons but also in any population with a high rate of suboptimal nutrition or potential underlying disease impairment."

Barringer TA, Kirk JK, Santaniello AC, et al, "Effect of a multivitamin and mineral supplement on infection and quality of life," Annals of Internal Medicine, 2003;138:365-371.

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